Jerry Sandusky’s wife smiled as she took the witness stand on Tuesday to defend him against charges he sexually abused boys in their home and on Penn State’s campus, and jurors also heard police investigators contradict themselves and psychological experts duel regarding evaluations of the defendant.
Dottie Sandusky said she remembered most but not all of the eight men who have accused her husband of abusing them as children. She told jurors she did not see him have inappropriate contact with them through the years as they visited the couple’s home or traveled with them.
She described her 45-year marriage to the former Penn State assistant football coach, but lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan appeared to stump her when he asked why the men might lie in making the accusations.
“I don’t know what it would be for,” she said, with a slight shake of her head.
A large portion of the day’s testimony, which included
11 character witnesses, consisted of a defense psychologist, Elliott Atkins, who told jurors he believes Jerry Sandusky has a personality disorder that might explain letters addressed to one of his accusers, while prosecutors countered with psychiatrist Dr. John Sebastian O’Brien II, who said that was not the case but that he might suffer from some other problem, possibly psychosexual disorder with a focus on pre-adolescents.
Judge John Cleland told jurors the case remains on track for defense testimony to likely conclude this morning, closing statements Thursday morning and deliberations to begin that afternoon.
Dottie Sandusky has stood by her husband, posting his bail, accompanying him to court proceedings and in December issuing a statement that proclaimed his innocence and said that accusers were making up their stories.
Part of the defense strategy is clearly to show that the details of accusers’ stories are wrong, but Dottie Sandusky was unable to say with much precision how often certain boys would stay in the couple’s State College home.
Police handling of an initial interview with Victim 4 may have helped the defense. Now-retired Cpl. Joseph A. Leiter testified police “never told any of them what anyone else had ever told us” before jurors were played a tape of that interview, in which Leiter told Victim 4 that they had been told by others that oral sex and a rape had occurred. Leiter also said that “in some of our interviews ... we did” tell accusers that others had come forward.
Also, Leiter told jurors after a recess that he had discussed his testimony with Trooper Scott Rossman over the break, shortly after Rossman told jurors that such a discussion had not occurred.
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